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Does link building help the search engine ranking of a website?

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A majority of internet users continue to use search engines for finding companies selling the products or services they require. All businesses want their website to rank well in the major search engines like Google, Bing so that they can get free targeted visitors from the search engine. Hence most businesses will hire specialized agencies for Search Engine Optimization or SEO, so that the business website will rank on the first page of search engines for relevant keywords.

The techniques used by the SEO agencies for ensuring a good rank for their client website includes website optimization, offsite SEO, Link building.

While proper Web Design for ease of navigation can help in improving the ranking of the website, Link building remains a controversial SEO technique. This is mainly because some search engines like Google, openly declare that they will penalize websites which are purchasing links from other websites. However, the fact remains that in addition to helping in navigation, the link is also a form of advertising, and websites cannot be expected to advertise any other website for free. Hence businesses often wonder whether they should allow their SEO firm to build links to their website for improving search engine rankings, whether it will make a difference, and whether it is worth taking the risk.

Link building

A link is built between websites, when one site contains a hyperlink to another website. This hyperlink was originally used for navigating between the websites. Later as the number of websites increased online, search engines like Google collected information on the links to a website and from a website, to rank the website in the search engine. Originally only the number of links to a website or website page were considered to indication of the quality and popularity of the website. Websites which had a large number of backlinks were ranking well in search engines.

However as the number of websites increased, SEO firms started manipulating the links to the website and the search engines were forced to modify their algorithm to maintain the quality of their results. These search engines like Google modified their algorithm, so that the importance of a link to a website varied depending on the website where it was located . A link from an established website, with a large number of visitors and ranking well in search engines, was considered more valuable while ranking websites. Though the algorithm of Google remains a secret and is periodically updated, links from authority websites are considered more valuable.

Importance of link building If a business wishes to improve the Search engine results page (SERP) for their website, the importance of building backlinks will vary depending on how established the website is. It is observed that link building will usually help new websites, websites which do not have many backlinks and websites with low quality backlinks. On the other hand it is observed that for well established authority websites, which are having a good ranking, building additional links will not make a significant difference in their search engine rankings. There are many different tools which can be used to check how well established a website is like Moz Domain Authority, Ahref, and Majestic. The SEO firm should consider other methods for improving the ranking of the authority website.

Alternatives to link building

Some alternate methods which established website already having high quality backlinks can use to improve their search engine position are:

  • Link audit - improve the linking within the website, will help both the users and search engines find the important pages in the website easily and increase the traffic, SERP ranking
  • Content - the content in the websites should be reviewed and pages which are not ranking well or are not relevant should be improved or removed.
  • Adding relevant content - the business website should be updated regularly with the latest information, products, and trends related to the business to improve the ranking.


Hence based on the above information, the effectiveness of link building for improving SERP ranking varies depending on whether the website is well established or not. While it is advisable to spend some resources on link building for new websites, or sites with few links, link building may not make a difference in Search Engine rankings for well established websites.